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A’s Could Re-Sign Coco Crisp

November 29, 2011

This morning Ken Rosenthal of had a few interesting notes in the “Around the Horn” section of his column where he just bullet points some news and notes from around baseball. In it he wrote this of the A’s seemingly departing center-fielder,

“[the A’s] are interested in retaining Coco Crisp, another of their other free-agent outfielders, major league sources say.

Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte, has said that Crisp would like to remain on the West Coast, and preferably play for a contender. The Mariners and Athletics are the only two West Coast clubs with clear needs in center field.”

This of course is a significant departure from all we have heard regarding Crisp thus far this offseason. While there are many who advocate re-signing Coco Crisp, he is one I would not re-sign. I know there is much debate about what constitutes a blip versus a trend, and whether or not there is importance in either, however I think that Crisp’s value is on the clear decline. Crisp, who was worth 2.2 WAR last season, posted an abysmal .314 OBP as the A’s leadoff hitter in about 47% of his games – in games when he in fact led off that number was worse at only .298. Crisp’s speed however plays best at the top of the order, his 49 steals led the American League. His arm in center is horrid, if not for his range he’d be better suited as a left fielder (though his fielding too took a significant dip in 2011). His utility is limited and he turns 32 in just two days which is the wrong side of 30 to be on. Granted with all that said, the A’s currently have either Jai Miller, Jermaine Mitchell or Ryan Sweeney penciled into center for now – none of whom are options that make one’s worries melt away. As with anything it’d depend on the financial terms, but with the Giants – who at first looked like Crisp’s most likely suitor – filling their center field hole with Melky Cabrera, it appears perhaps the A’s could take advantage of a limited market for Crisp’s limited services.

In that same Rosenthal article there was one other thing repeated – as I have seen it in several locations now – that the Cubs are shopping Alfonso Soriano being willing to pick up a good chunk of the hefty $54M remaining on his contact. While the A’s have a lot of DH types already, Soriano has played left-field (with a decided lack of grace) and would be pop in the A’s lineup, how much would Chicago have to pick up to make that deal worthwhile? If I complain about Crisp being on the wrong side of 30, Soriano is also on the wrong side of 35. But despite a 1.3 WAR year last year which as per FanGraphs made him worth a mere $5.9M, he did clock 26 home runs and could play the role of the big bat in an A’s lineup. I doubt this is something that’d ever come to fruition but it could be an interesting thing to investigate nonetheless.

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